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Is Breast Cancer Inherited?

If one of your close family members has been diagnosed with breast cancer you may be quite concerned about the chance of yourself receiving the same diagnosis in the future. Read ahead to find out if breast cancer is inherited and what you can do about it.

breast cancer inherited

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Australia. It is the abnormal growth of the cells that line the breasts; these cells can grow uncontrollably and spread to other areas of the body if not caught in time. Although breast cancer is mostly associated with women, men can also develop this disease too. The risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer by age 85 is 1 in 8 for women and 1 in 631 for men and the overall 5year survival rates breast cancer is actually quite high at 90%, if the cancer has not spread from the breast then it rises to 96% yet if it has spread to the lymph nodes it lowers to 80%.

breast cancer inherited

Breast cancer and genes

The biggest fear when it comes to developing breast cancer is when a close family member gets the diagnosis, as most people realise that they too may develop hereditary breast cancer. Unfortunately this may be true for some, as breast cancer can be inherited but this happens in only a small 5-10% of breast cancer diagnosis. Hereditary means that it is passed through certain gene mutations from either your mother or fathers side. The most common hereditary gene mutations for breast cancer are BRCA1 and BRCA2 although there are also a few other mutations that can also cause breast cancer but these are far less common.

If you have a family history of breast cancer you could possibly have a gene mutation that is being passed down, now I know that this sounds scary and this gene does significantly increase your risk of developing breast cancer to 30-60%, but not everyone with this gene mutation actually develops this disease. There are also a number of other lifestyle factors that can influence whether you develop breast cancer or not.

breast cancer inherited

Other risk factors

A risk factor is anything that may increase your chance of developing breast cancer. While most risk factors can influence a person’s development of cancer, most risk factors do not directly cause breast cancer. It is important to know that not everyone with risk factors will develop cancer, and that some people with no known risk factors may unfortunately still be diagnosed with cancer. By understanding your risk factors you can learn how to make changes to your lifestyle and how to keep your health.

Risk factors for breast cancer include:

  • Age- most breast cancers are found in women who are over the age of 50.
  • Personal history of breast cancer- if you have previously had breast cancer then your chance of getting it in the other breast is higher.
  • Family history of breast cancer.
  • Exposure to female hormones
  • Unhealthy diet
  • High alcohol consumption.
  • Family history of ovarian cancer
  • If you are a smoker
breast cancer inherited

What should I do if I have a family history of breast cancer?

If you do happen to have a family history of breast cancer then you can do a simple blood test that screens for the genetic mutation. This DNA sample is searched for a fault in the genes which can take a while to get results back; if a previous family member has been tested the results will be much quicker as they simply search for the same fault.

All women who have the breast cancer gene mutation should have regular breast check-ups including mammograms and should discuss options and prevention methods with their DR.

While there is no proven prevention method as yet, you can greatly reduce your risk by lowering alcohol intake and by maintaining a healthy weight.

Women with a strong family history of breast cancer may benefit from hormone treatment such as tamoxifen which is usually administered over 5 years. Another option is a mastectomy, which is complete removal of all breast tissue.

breast cancer inherited


While it can be inherited it’s not a definite diagnosis, if you think you are at risk of breast cancer then speak with your DR today, prevention and early detection are key!

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Do Self-tanners Cause Cancer?

Getting that sun kissed glow is now easier than ever, we are now spoiled for choice with sprays, lotions, wipes and creams which we can easily apply ourselves without ever stepping out into the sun. We all know the dangers of baking under the sun, but are self-tanners causing us damage as well?

self tanners cause cancer

Safety of self-tanners

Sunless self-tanning products can help us to achieve that oh so lovely tan without causing our skin damage from the harmful UV rays of the sun. The active ingredient of most tanning products is the colour additive called dihydroxyacetone (DHA). When this product is applied to our skin it reacts with the dead skin cells and darkens our skin to temporarily give us that wonderful tanned look, before wearing off after a few days. Fake tans are so much healthier for our skin then sitting out in the sun and baking away, although people do have concerns about the safety of self-tanners.

self tanners cause cancer

It’s the DHA that people are concerned about, and this is largely due to a study showing that highly concentrated amounts of this product can cause free radical damage and lead to cancer. Although this sounds quite concerning the amount of DHA in sunless tanning products is extremely low and considered non-toxic and non-carcinogenic so there is no cause for alarm. In fact DHA is the only product that is approved for use in cosmetics and has been for many years now.

Another issue surrounding the safety of self-tanners comes from those that are sprayed onto our skin; this is because the product can be sprayed into our eyes and mouth which is defiantly not recommended as it can cause asthma, lung disease and even cancer. If you use a spray tanning product ensure to wear protective gear for your mouth, nose and eyes.

self tanners cause cancer

Why not just sunbake?

Sun baking can naturally give us a tan and is one of our much loved summer activities but it comes with a price:

  • Dehydration can occur as the UV rays from the sun which can not only damage our skin it can also cause heat stroke which can lower your blood pressure to the point of collapsing.
  • Sunburns are another side effect that can occur with sunbaking. Sunburn happens when our skin is deeply damaged by the sun causing a red, burning area of damaged skin.
  • Skin cancer is something we are all aware of and the reason behind sunscreen. Prolonged exposure to the sun can cause our skin cells to morph and turn cancerous.
  • Finally premature aging of our skin is also caused by damage from the sun, so always use sun screen to prevent looking like cracked leather.

Although it’s very dangerous to expose bare skin to the sun for long periods of time, a quick 10 minutes daily of our arms and face exposed to the sun will give us our daily dose of vitamin D, after that that friendly sun turns nasty and begins to cause damage this is why self-tanners are a safe alternative to get that heavenly glow.

self tanners cause cancer

Fake it

So there we have it, self-tanners are an effective and safe way of maintaining that summer tan without the harmful effects from the sun.  So next time you’re thinking about getting a tan, always opt for the fake one!

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Is Your Microwave Giving You Cancer?

It seems like every other week we are bombarded with headlines reading that something new is giving us cancer or some other horrible disease. And the microwave is another product packing some serious heat within these headlines. So just how safe are our microwaves and are they attributing to our risk of the big “C” word?

microwave giving cancer


You may have heard that standing too close to a microwave can bombard your body with radiation that can cause cancer.

But guess what? There is no evidence that proves microwaves can even transmit enough radiation to hurt you. And although microwaves do emit radiation waves they are not the DNA damaging waves, they are the same type of radiation waves of radios and mobile phone towers. These types of waves are from “non-ionizing” forms of radiation. Scientists have studied non-ionizing radiation in great depth and are still unable to provide a definite link between the waves and cancer.

The amount of radiation that is emitted from your microwave is so small that even if it did cause cancer it just wouldn’t be enough to harm you.

As long as your microwave is in proper working order you will be fine.

microwave giving cancer

What about the food?

There is some scientific evidence that suggests that microwaving can change the chemical makeup of our foods which can potential increase our risk of cancerous cell growth within our bodies. This is because our bodies are not equipped to handle that changed makeup of the food. However it should be noted that evidence of this is not easily come by in reputable scientific studies.  Some studies even suggest that by exposing our food to the microwaves will kill bacteria which actually makes our food safer to ea

Whenever we cook foods we are bound to lose some nutrients and the amount varies depending on how we cook it and for how long. Studies have shown that microwaving vegetables over boiling or pressure cooking them actually preserves more nutrients, allowing you to have a better meal.

microwave giving cancer

What about the packaging?

A concern many consumers have is about the actually packaging of the food and how it may migrate into foods in the microwave. While this is actually a legitimate concern as it has actually been associated with cancer, we really needn’t worry too much. Companies are aware of this happening with their foods and are now making microwave safe packaging making it very unlikely to happen here on Australia. You should also be wary of the plates and bowls you are placing in the microwave as they also have the potential to leak into our foods. Basically if your package or plate does not have a microwave safe symbol printed on it then don’t put it in the microwave.

microwave giving cancer

All in all

When it comes down to it microwaves are a very safe, convenient and effective way of heating up your food and drinks, and there is no need to start throwing them out or selling them on Facebook.

So basically said, NO, your microwave is not giving you cancer!

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Does Coffee Cause Cancer?

coffee cause cancer

Flat white, cappuccino, black or double shot are all words coffee drinkers all over are quite familiar with. Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world and for many of us it’s the only thing that is getting us out of bed in the mornings. But with its frequent use people are questioning how healthy this beverage of choice really is, especially when it comes to causing cancer. Fear not fellow coffee lovers, boil the jug and read on…

coffee cause cancer

Myth busted!

In 2016 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have claimed that coffee has been bumped down a level in their cancer causing agents charts, it is now under the category group 3- not classifiable as to its carcinogenetic to humans where it used to be under group 2 – possible carcinogenic to humans. This is good news for coffee lovers everywhere. The confusion comes from evidence that drinking very hot beverages (over 65 degrees) can cause oesophageal cancer but there is insufficient evidence to prove this. In fact there is some evidence that is pointing towards coffee actually preventing certain cancers. The way coffee can prevent cancer is still unclear but there are some theories in place.

  1. There is some evidence pointing to the fact that certain chemicals in coffee can improve insulin sensitivity and prevent long term or chronic inflammation, both which are known to be a cause in developing cancer.
  2. Coffee may also be able to protect against DNA damage, slow the growth of cancer and kill of damaged cells before they can turn into cancer.

Research is still in the early stages but it is looking promising.

coffee cause cancer

How many cups?

I’m not saying that you should start drinking coffee if you don’t already, but it may be something to think about. Drinking around 2-6 cups of coffee daily is showing to reduce our risk of many different cancers, coffee contains antioxidants, and these molecules are our best friends when it comes to fighting off cancers. Antioxidants fend off free radicals that float around in our bodies; free radicals damage our cells and can cause cancer to start growing.

  • 4 cups or more daily can decrease our risk of oral and head cancers by 39%.
  • Women can lower their risk of uterine cancer by consuming 2 cups a day.
  • Men can lower their prostate cancer risk by 60% when they drink 6 cups a day.
  • At least 6 cups a day can lower your risk of certain brain cancers by 40%.
  • 3 cups a day can prevent and slow down the growth of breast cancer.

coffee cause cancer

Any other benefits?

Apart from preventing cancer there are many additional benefits to drinking coffee!

  • Energy boost- coffee obviously contains caffeine, which is a natural stimulant. This is what gives us that boost of energy after drinking a nice hot cuppa.
  • Burns fat- again it’s the caffeine in coffee that can help us to loss fat; it does this by stimulating our metabolism causing us to burn more fat for energy.
  • Protects against type 2 diabetes by about 23-50%
  • Coffee can improve our exercise performance, as caffeine signals to start breaking down fat we get an increased energy surge and more fuel available to pump out our workout!
  • Lower your risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia and Parkinson’s.
  • Drinking coffee can lower our risk of developing depression and significantly lowers our risk of suicide.
  • Coffee can also help to protect our hearts and protect against stroke.
coffee cause cancer

The bottom line

Coffee may actually be one of the healthiest drinks on the planet. From starving off cancers, boosting energy and promoting good health, coffee is defiantly my drink of choice.

So all you coffee drinkers grab a cup and enjoy a long, healthy and happy life!

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Sure Fire Ways to Stay Cancer Free

stay cancer free

So far, Unfortunately the only real sure fire way to stay completely cancer free is to meet your maker from something other than cancer. However, as foreboding as this may sound, The best way to treat cancer is to prevent it in the first place , although some cancers are just in our genes and we can’t really control them, science has shown us that many kinds of cancer can be delayed or even avoided when we make good lifestyle choices.

stay cancer free

DON’T smoke

The most obvious to most people is don’t smoke. Although for those smokers out there this is easier said than done, luckily there are many quit smoking aids out there that can help you through your quit journey. Smoking causes so much damage to our insides that it’s strange it’s still legal. Cigarettes create a carcinogenic effect on our bodies leaving us extremely vulnerable to multiple forms of cancer.

Limit alcohol

Alcohol is poison to our bodies and should be enjoyed in limited quantities or not at all. Women should drink no more than 2 standard drinks a day and men should have no more than 3 standard drinks a day. Alcohol allows cancerous cells to form and grow rapidly because it has poisoned the rest of our bodies. So if you’re drinking more then you should think about cutting back and saving your health.

stay cancer free


So many diseases and conditions, including cancers can be directly linked to what we eat and put into our bodies. Nutrition is so important to our health but it is something all of us can neglect. A huge precursor to cancer is sodium nitrate which can be found in nearly all package meats like hot dogs, bacon, sausages, ham and lunch meats. Other food products that can promote cancer cells are refined carbohydrates like white bread and pancakes, aspartame, artificial colours, hydrogenated oils and saccharin. To help prevent cancer through diet it’s pretty simple, think natural foods like fruits, veggies, chicken, fish and lean meat, stay far away from sugary foods, chocolates, lollies, biscuits and other confectionery items. A well balanced diet will keep your body happy and healthy and prevent many diseases and conditions.


Another important factor to prevent cancer is regular exercise. Exercising helps our bodies move lymph fluid around which strengthens our immune system and defends against cancerous cells. Exercise is also important to keep our body weight at a healthy level; basically too much fat can cause many diseases including heart problems, liver and kidney issues and can even promote the growth of cancer. Being underweight can also be problematic as our body’s immune system can become compromised which yet again allows the formation of cancer cells. So aim for 30minsutes a day at least 5 days a week.  Stick to a workout routine that keeps your weight in check and gets you moving!

stay cancer free

Get some D

A lot of us are scared to venture into the sun without a thick layer of sunscreen to protect us from skin cancer but this may be doing us more harm than good. When we expose our skin to the sun we receive an important nutrient called vitamin D, this amazing vitamin actually prevents cancer cells forming inside of our bodies. Of course I don’t want you in the sun all day without sunscreen as this can cause skin cancer but a good 10 minutes of full face and arm exposure will dramatically reduce our risk of cancers forming.

Control it

There is no one size fits all when it comes to staying cancer free, but with a few tweaks here and a few changes there you could be well on your way to living a long and happy cancer free life.

stay cancer free